Family support entails paying close attention to how much time your children are spending on the Internet. Here are some tips for balancing online and offline time:
- Look for signs of declining school performance, health and relationships.
- Balance your own behavior; do not spend too much time online.
- Place the computer in an open area, and monitor your kids to develop their self-control.
- Help your child socialize offline. Encourage him or her to participate in hobby groups, computer classes or get-togethers with kids with similar interests, especially physical pastimes.
- Don’t ban the Internet, but develop rules for its use and stick to them.
- If your child likes to play online video games, encourage similar board games or get him or her to read books.
Encouraging a healthy balance between entertainment media and other activities in any child’s life can be a challenge for parents. The Internet makes this more difficult. Monitoring children’s computer use can help them develop discipline and accountability that can carry over into adult life.
As today’s youth age, their ability to research and chat online, talk on their cell phone, watch TV and listen to music all at once may increase their communication skills beyond that of the previous generation.